Morning Ethics Warm-Up: When You Are Tempted To Beat Your Head In With A Claw Hammer As You Read These Items, Think Of Buddy Mercury


Honestly now, how can anyone get depressed about ethical the state of a world with Buddy Mercury in it?

1. Yes, I know that this is just a has-been ex-child star with an inflated concept of her own wisdom and authority, but it’s significant anyway. Alyssa Milano, 46, late of “Who’s the Boss” and “Charmed,” tried to promote a female sex strike against men to protest recent anti-abortion bills  in several states. This stunningly stupid idea–but classical!—was rightly attacked from both the Left and Right, but it is worthy of note for one reason: it illustrates how progressives are increasingly favoring boycotts, force, intimidation, violence and bullying as the mean of achieving their policy objectives, and abandoning reasoning, elections and law. This attitude suggests a growing hostility to democracy, and that is worrysome.

When the Lysistrata-inspired #SexStrike that she declared would deny men sex “until we get bodily autonomy back” (think about that for a minute) protest fell flat, Milano threw a self-reported tantrum on Twitter and pivoted to an appeal to emotion that omitted the legal and ethical realities. The new object of her outrage was a CBS report about an 11-year-old rape victim who couldn’t get an abortion under Ohio’s yet-to-be-signed fetal heartbeat bill. Milano, like all abortion rights absolutists but especially loudly, appears to be incapable of perceiving or admitting that anti-abortion legislation is not an expression of hostility to women at all.  Right or wrong, it is based on a sincere and ethically defensible (under reciprocity and Kantian ethics) argument that a human life, even a nascent one, must have priority in the utilitarian balancing involved when a pregnancy is unwanted by the mother.

2.  Speaking of res ipsa loquitur, I don’t think I have to comment on this one: From the New York Post:

A Georgetown student whose dad paid $400,000 to get his son into the elite college as a sham tennis recruit is suing the university for planning to oust him — saying they should have known he was a fake. Adam Semprevivo says he wasn’t part of the shady deal, for which his dad has pleaded guilty and faces jail time, and put the blame squarely on college officials who failed to catch his bogus application. “Despite the fact that these misrepresentations could have been easily verified and debunked before Georgetown formally admitted Semprevivo in April 2016, no one at Georgetown did so,” reads the lawsuit filed Wednesday in DC federal court. The student also points out the records he provided to the school show his athletic experience was far from the tennis court. “In fact, Semprevivo’s high-school transcripts, on their face, reflect that Semprevivo’s athletic endeavor of choice was basketball and that he received credit for his participation on the basketball team.”

The university promptly announced its intention to expel him hours after the suit was filed.

3. When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring...The students at the McFadden School of Excellence in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, were taught  the Nazi salute in their social studies class as part of a “Living History” program. One student was even dressed up as Hitler so the kids would have someone to salute. Naturally, the tykes took to heiling just like the Hitler Youth did. They loved it. They heiled each other in the halls! The heiled each other in the playground! What could go wrong? Who says the schools don’t teach history in the U.S?

One student, an 11-year old girl, was upset at being told to give a Nazi salute and said so.  She was allowed  to explain her objections in front of the class, then instructed by teachers to “not address it again.” The student, however, continued to dissent, and  after being tipped off that her classmates were going to aim a mass salute at her, she complained to another teacher, who intervened and told students that giving the Nazi salute was wrong, the spoilsport.

The “Living History” project was still ongoing, however, and despite that outlier anti-Nazi  teacher’s instructions, the kids’ arms were back in the air during the project’s rehearsal, with students enthusiastically returning  the Sieg Heil after the Kid Hitler signed off with his own. At this point, the anti-Nazi young lady shouted at her classmates to “stop it” and “put your hands down.” She was removed from the class for being “disrespectful with her tone and body language to teachers.” The teachers apparently prefer respectful body language like, say,Nazi salutes.

Her father revealed all of this on Twitter, so the school district issued one of those “we do not condone what we condoned and never would do such a thing” emails to assure parents to that “we do not condone any type of symbolism or actions that can [be] interpreted as hate-filled or insensitive.,” and that The McFadden School of Excellence will cease having a student portray Hitler and will “find alternative means of covering the fifth-grade history standard.”

That should be a challenge: finding other ways to teach history to fifth graders besides training them to behave like Nazis.

4. If you have a hard time understanding how #2 or #3 could happen, you’ll love this one. The Oklahoma Bar Association is filing a disciplinary complaint against attorney Mark Bailey because he gave them a check with human fecal matter smeared on it.  According to the complaint, Bailey brought a refund check to O.B.A. for a previous client, and insisted it be given directly to a specific General Counsel staff member. Bailey has had run-ins with the Bar before, like when he was accused of deliberately running down a woman with his truck. (This is unethical for a lawyer. For anyone, really…)

The check had a “pinched indentation and there was a brown, damp smear across its front.”  Test results confirmed the substance on the check was fecal matter. Bailey denies that the poo was deliberately put on the check. (Think about that for a while),

Meanwhile, I’m searching the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct for the provision prohibiting lawyers from distributing shit-smeared checks.

So far, nothing.

31 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: When You Are Tempted To Beat Your Head In With A Claw Hammer As You Read These Items, Think Of Buddy Mercury

  1. I doubt the Oklahoma bar ever thought they’d need a rule against it.

    Sad, really.

    I am trying to wrap my mind around what teacher or group of teachers thought that teaching the children the Nazi salute was an appropriate way to teach them about Nazi Germany. Was there some meeting in which someone said, “Hey, despite ignorance, paranoia and hysteria these days that have people looking for Nazis under every tree stump, let’s immerse the kids in the atmosphere of that regime by teaching them a really annoying and catchy salute!”?

    Don’t they know that then forbidding them from doing pretty much guaranteed that they would keep doing it?

    Kids, like Americans as a whole, traditionally don’t like being told what they can’t do.

    And, if they knew anything about history, they would know that Hitler himself had to warn the Brownshirts that foreigners visiting Germany were not required to give the salute like the Germans were. So, see? Even Hitler didn’t think non-Germans should give it!

    The fools.

  2. Good boy, Buddy! And nice tie! You’re a natural. You must be the life of the party at doggie day care. You remind me of my mother wistfully saying how nice it would be to be able to sit down at a piano at a party and accompany one’s self in a song, when I was insisting on quitting piano in fourth grade. You’re the man. Sing for your supper and you’ll get dog treats.

    1. So now we’re supposed to argue about politics in our conjugal beds. Awful. I guess nothing is sacred anymore. With apologies to Ben Franklin (or was it Thomas Jefferson), sex is God’s way of telling us he loves us. Who would squander that gift for politics or policy disagreements? And who in their right mind doesn’t have qualms about abortion? It’s a human right to terminate human lives? It’s as essential to mental well being as regularly flossing one’s teeth? And has the same emotional, ethical and moral aspects? Anyone who advocates for abortion without any pause whatsoever is an idiot. As is anyone who gleefully mocks the efforts of any legislators to address this problem.

  3. 3. is directly opposite of any teaching guidance offered by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Simulations are always a bad idea. My parish didn’t understand why we refused to take part in a poverty dinner experience. One meal of rice isn’t going to teach my children the reality of starvation. They know they can go home and have a sandwich. This “School of Excellence” was simply teaching group think and the benefits of negative peer pressure. This 11 year old and her family deserve big kudos for standing up to bullies, even when it is a teacher.

    • Well, the next logical step is adversity scores for college grading and professional exams. Only 42% of students pass the bar when they take it in California. Some studies have found that as few as 8% of white students fail the bar exam the first time. Obviously, we need to adjust the scores so that 92% of each race passes the bar exam each time.

      Some people may suggest these are different things and that the SAT scores depend on the education level of the parents, the quality of the schools, race, location, etc. That is all absolutely true. However, what the SAT (at least is supposed to) measures is their preparation for college. What all those factors are affecting is the students’ preparation and ability to succeed in college. So, if we are going to ignore their preparation and ability to perform in college and scale it by those factors, we will need to scale their performance in that environment as well. Unlike the SAT, the bar exam is supposed to measure the ability of a candidate to practice law. I’m sure bar pass rates depend on what law school the person went to, what undergraduate institution they graduated from, and their grades. If all those factors get scaled for ‘adversity’, then the bar exam needs to be scaled as well.

      Then, we need to scale the person’s performance in their job. A prosecutor with a high ‘adversity score’ maybe only needs 9 of the jurors to vote guilty, not 12 like an Asian prosecutor, or 11 for a white prosecutor. Likewise, an Asian or white airline pilot will not be allowed to overshoot the runway, but another minority may be allowed to run off the end of the runway by a distance determined by their adversity scores. The medical board scoring and success rates of surgeons will need to be adjusted by their ‘adversity score’ as well. Some people won’t be ‘dead enough’ to count as dead for some surgeons.

  4. 1. Alyssa Milano

    Women have been withholding sex from men for years in hopes of getting something. This is the oldest trick in the female playbook, and she acts like it’s something new and different. Idjit.

    I suppose it sometimes works. Not on me, but then again, I am just plain irresistible…

    The Left will resort to anything to get their way. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Their hostility isn’t to “democracy,” per se, but rather our constitutional republic.

    2. Scam

    Lori Laughlin, your office on line 1…

    3. Dead ethics alarms

    Well, we often wonder why the younger generation is so historically clueless, and it turns out that instead of teaching them history, we’re teaching them to re-enact it without context.


    4. Oklahoma attorney

    I got nothing.

    • “I suppose it sometimes works. Not on me, but then again, I am just plain irresistible…”
      Doesn’t work on me, either, but not because of my Shrek/Uncle Fester good looks. It’s a power struggle, so I engage back. Women aren’t the only people in the house that can make life a living Hell.

      Now, if it’s because of menopause, I have an even better solution, and one that’s mutually beneficial: testosterone.
      It’s the hormone that drives human sexual response, sensitivity, and sexual fantasizing in both sexes, and it works every bit as well with women (albeit in much smaller quantities) as it does with men who are getting older. Believe me; YOU will be the one saying “again? but we just did that this morning?”
      Pay it forward, gents.

  5. Re No. 1: Alyssa Milano; Sex Strike.

    I can’t remember the last time the Left and the Right were equally correct totally different reasons. The Left objected to Milano’s screed because it was based on the idea that women merely serve as sexual servants of men’s erotic desires, to carry their brood to term and remain in the kitchen. The Right’s response was amusing: The Right said, “Hey, wait! Alyssa, ya know something? You are on to something and we agree with you. Abstinence is the best and safest form of birth control. No sex, no pregnancy. No pregnancy, no abortion. Imagine that.” Take that, Lysistrata (and I am sure Alyssa read that play).

    Re: No. 3: Nazi Saluting Middle Schoolers.

    I would love to know how that decision came about. Did the teachers get together and talk about this project? If so, didn’t one of them have the sense to say, “Uh, once we let this cat out of the bag, there ain’t no gettin’ it back in”? Apparently not. Idiots. And we are supposed to entrust our kids to these people? Whatever happened to reading, writing and arithmetic?

    I thought just occurred to me, though. Our son is in 9th grade (and at the rate he is going, he may not live to see tomorrow morning – I may need a good defense lawyer, but I digress . . .) and attends a private Catholic high school here in Houston. His Theology teacher gave the class an assignment: “Is Black Lives Matter consistent with Catholic teaching?” The students were provided with an essay about the origins of the Black Lives Matter and its philosophy and the assignment was to analyze Catholic teaching with the stated goals of the movement. They were told the parameters within which to argue and there would be a class discussion the following day.

    Oddly enough, the assignment got canceled when a student’s parents (a Black family, I might add) called the dean and raised all kinds of unholy hell. I thought my son was making this up until I was chatting with a mom of one of his classmates (who is also Black), who was frickin’ livid over the assignment. Her regret was that the other boy’s parents ripped the dean apart before she could do so. My wife, oh my long-suffering wife, was equally furious. To her, there was no reason to conflate theology (Eucharist, Resurrection, Remission of Sin. Mass, etc.) with a political movement. She didn’t get a chance to strangle the teacher or the dean, though. After the first family complained and he saw the second boy’s mom coming, the dean murdered the teacher, and went into hiding (we still don’t know where he is = some suspect he is in the Dominican Republic on a “service project” at a cloistered monastery). Good stuff, eh?

    Re: No. 4: Dirty Refund

    I am always surprised at the level lunacy of supposedly learned people honored to awarded a law degree and the privilege to practice law. To me, the law is still an honorable and noble profession. The vast, vast majority of lawyers are ethical, hard-working, professionals seeking to advance their clients’ interests. The bad ones, such as this idiot, do spoil it for the rest of us. I recently read a case where some idiot lawyer in Florida is about to get disbarred for all kinds of abysmal behavior toward a court and her opposing counsel. It is truly mind-boggling. How arrogant do you have to be to ignore alarms banging all around you to refrain from certain behavior but you soldier on into the fray?


  6. A friend of mine is German by birth and became a US citizen in March. Yesterday she was suggesting that California secede because of these anti-abortion state laws. Without getting into the ethics of abortion (or, you know, the oath of citizenship), I explained how there really couldn’t be any good outcome for California if it pursued secession: its economy is dependent on the giant free trade zone that is the rest of the country, it relies on the federal government for military defense, the federal government owns and manages 45.5% of the state’s land, and large regions would remain in the union anyway (like the western counties of VA that became WV), including areas critical to the state’s agricultural sector.

    She’d be willing to endure some economic hardship so that she could never have to give birth to an unwanted child.

    I explained that CA would be facing not just economic hardship, but economic and social collapse brought on by war and starvation.

    “So be it.” Having to give birth to an unwanted child would be her own personal economic and social collapse. The country will be torn apart because women won’t give up their right to safe and legal elective abortion at all stages.

  7. 2. I see that this student who benefited from the admission fraud has remained a student for what, three years? I can only think that he has successfully done the work and maintained the grades to meet the standards set by the school, and may be within a year of getting a diploma. (Personal experience has shown me that those who do not maintain grades and/or do the work are asked to leave… let’s leave it at that.)

    I might be wrong, but aren’t those admission standards in place to screen applicants for their ability to successfully participate in the education being offered? So someone who shortcuts those standards should be weeded out along the way, since they were not truly qualified from the start. The fact that this student had to be expelled might give one of us dullards out here the idea that maybe those entrance requirements don’t do what they are intended to do. This school’s entrance requirements, if enforced, would have keptout an otherwise qualified (by demonstration) student.

    The defense offered here is a lot like the one where the thief climbs over the fence into the junkyard only to have his plan sidetracked by the junkyard dog, and the thief wants to blame the yard owner for having a fence low enough for him to climb over, regardless how tall it was or how much barbed wire topped it, and pay his medical bills.

    • A Mike
      What is not known is whether the kid would have been admitted without the help. This is why he must be expelled. Using the idea that admission requirements are only a screening tool then thousands of otherwise qualified persons who would likely succeed and have been turned down got screwed by this family. There must be consequences or everyone will attempt to take shortcuts.

    • Or the attractive nuisance lawsuits where a neighbor leaves on vacation and a local kid jumps the fence, pops the lid off of the pool, goes for a swim and drowns.

      Georgetown was such a great school that he couldn’t resist it.

      • They must be trying to make some sort of waiver or estoppel argument, i.e., Georgetown knew the coach was crooked but they let the kid stay in school and took his tuition money for three years. Too late! You can’t retro-actively de-admit the kid after looking the other way for so long.

    • Yeah, I didn’t think this was as clear as Jack thinks. IF he has been doing appropriate coursework for three years (I would possibly suggest a verification that he did), and he submitted basketball accomplishments, I’m not sure he must be expelled. Expelling him now only makes a space within upperclassmen, part of normal winnowing. It doesn’t make one more space for freshman. Rank incompetence in admissions doesn’t erase that he could do the classwork. If admissions makes a mistake and admits a kid with an unusual name because they think he’s an immigrant, should they be able to sweep it under the rug to hide their incompetence by expelling them? He’s completed 3/4 of his degree and will be unlikely to find anything better than a community college to finish. Is it fair to an unknowing student to be punished when he did nothing? That’d be like locking up one twin because the other murdered a parent on the other coast.

      The kid’s lawsuit was a desperation ‘hail mary’ to finish where he started and prevent being expelled. Using *that* as the trigger for doing that is a catch-22 jerk move too. I understand there should be consequences, but he is being convicted for actions not his own.

      • He’s being expelled for suing the college in a spurious lawsuit on top of the fact that he was fraudulently admitted. “You were negligent to fall for the fraud”? Seriously? Falling for a deliberate fraud is not “a mistake.” The fraud is a crime. The analogy with someone mistakenly admitted is not on point—that IS negligence. “You shuldn’t have let my parents steal a college education” is not. He is also easily complicit: if he never played tennis and got a tennis recruitment, how could he claim he wasn’t complicit?

        • He is also easily complicit: if he never played tennis and got a tennis recruitment, how could he claim he wasn’t complicit?

          It seems that he claims that he did not lie on his application.

          • But he knew he had been recruited for the tennis team. That’s an awfully big clue. It still doesn’t matter: it’s like Barry Bonds suing MLB and saying “You shouldn’t have made it so easy for me to cheat!”

  8. #3. What. The. Hell? As my British friends would say, I was gobsmacked by this story. In my own state of Tennessee, no less. Rutherford County is essentially an extended suburb of Nashville and right in the geographic center of the state. I am disappointed that such lunacy could develop in a public school there. Usually, our schools here are so bound by approved curricula requirements that there’s no time for any sort of “inventive” instruction like living history- although it used to be common. (For example, my own SAR chapter was recently denied a few hours of time to demonstrate a typical Revolutionary War patriot militia soldier’s encampment and daily life. We had been doing this for several years.)
    My head is still likely to explode over this if I think about it too much. I need to talk to my sister (30+ years as a classroom teacher) about this and see if this has any context in our local schools, or how such an event could have possibly been conceived and approved by anyone in the school bureaucracy with two brain cells to rub together.
    I guess this concerned grandpa needs to start attending the school board meetings (again). Good grief!

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